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Number Symbolism and the Sidereal Zodiac
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Phil



Joined: 07 Jan 2012
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Posted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese, thank you. You began this thread with a question of mine on another thread, and your question just above (about “relinquishing all the usual symbolism and structure” of the zodiac) basically sums up that original question of mine, in a broader sense. And it was exactly this broader sense that I was coming from. You ask the same question I was curious about.
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Mark
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Posted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Graham wrote:
Quote:
Yes, I'm coming to that conclusion too. Regulus was definiteley a marker, as it's name implies and the leader of the four "royal" cornerstone stars (with Antares, Fomalhaut and Alebaran), which later came to mark the four "fixed"signs. One also feels that the first segment should be ruled by the Sun. 0° Leo is also the start of one the three (out of 27) Indian nakshatra which conventionally start at 0° of one of the 12 signs (the others are Aries and Sagittarius). (Though rulership of Magha, the 0° Leo nakshatra, is conventionally given to Ketu, the south node, while Krittika/Peiades, which straddles 0° Taurus, is ruled by the Sun, and was definitely considered the first of the series in the past - so the plot thickens!)
But the 0 Leo / 0 Magha overlay might suggest that the fitting of the 27 nakshatra into the 12 signs, which has been contested as an awkward compromise, might be appropriate - not firstly because of the perfect fit in Aries, but rather that in Leo.


I assume you are aware that the occult Golden Dawn movement adopted the same view? They treated Leo as the first sign and this seemed to relate more to the sidereal zodiac with a focus on Regulus or Cor Leonis 'The heart of the Lion'.

Just a slight note of caution about the 'Four Royal Stars' argument. Its certainly there in sources like Firmicus or Hephaistio. However, the idea that these 4 stars relate to the Four Royal stars of ancient Persia is totally spurious. Sadly even supposed experts on fixed stars such as Bernadette Brady have perpetuated this historical fallacy.

However, surely, our oldest astrological sources all point to the cardinal signs as the effective beginnings of the signs?

This seems to be a basic idea of Babylonian astrology. The Roman writer Seneca, had access to the ancient Babylonian astrologer Berossus’ original papyrus manuscript of his History of Babylon known as the Babyloniaca. The work now only exists in fragments but Seneca stated that Berossus assigned a great cosmic cycle timed between great conjunctions of all the planets in Capricorn and Cancer. When all the planets line up in Cancer, Berossus apparently stated we can expect a great fire or conflagration. When all the planets conjoin in Capricorn, we should expect a great flood or deluge. Hence the great flood had coincided with a previous great conjunction of planets in Capricorn. Seneca goes on the justify this view by stating “They are zodiacal signs of great power, seeing that they are the determining influences in the two great changes of the year.” (Seneca, qtd. in Campion, The Great Year, p. 67).

Seneca wasn't influenced by tropical astrology. He was writing in the century before Ptolemy was even born. However, its interesting that he links these cardinal signs to changes in the seasons. He alsoclearly sees the cardinal signs as powerful. I think this is one of many examples that ancient people didn't perceive a rigid split between the zodiac and the seasons.

There is also the Thema Mundi which posits Cancer as the ascendant of the World Horoscope. For the siderealist it seems to me there are two possible responses here.

Either to dismiss that the Thema Mundi ever had a seasonal association in the first place. If that is so though doesn't this strengthen the argument for having a traditionally cardinal sign starting the zodiac?

The alternative is to take the view that there that Thema Mundi was a based on a mixture of both sidereal and seasonal logic. In which case shouldn't one of the mutable sidereal signs be a starting point at present?

Mark
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Last edited by Mark on Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark, interesting post. Thanks. You wrote:
Quote:

Just a slight note of caution about the 'Four Royal Stars' argument. Its certainly there in sources like Firmicus or Hephaistio. However, the idea that these 4 stars relate to the Four Royal stars of ancient Persia is totally spurious.

This is news to me. Do you mean that there never were "Four Royal Stars of Persia?" Please give your source so I can read about this and add it to my files.

Quote:
However, surely, our oldest astrological sources all point to the cardinal signs as the effective beginnings of the signs?

This seems to be a basic idea of Babylonian astrology. The Roman writer Seneca, had access to the ancient Babylonian astrologer Berossus'original papyrus manuscript of his History of Babylon known as the Babyloniaca. The work now only exists in fragments but Seneca stated that Berossus assigned a great cosmic cycle timed between great conjunctions of all the planets in Capricorn and Cancer. When all the planets line up in Cancer, Berossus apparently stated we can expect a great fire or conflagration. When all the planets conjoin in Capricorn, we should expect a great flood or deluge.

So much for Cancer relating to water and Capricorn to earth. But we know that Capricorn is located in the part of the sky related to the sea, and Capricorn was originally the sea goat with a fish tail.

Of course your post was addressed to Graham. I'm not an expert on either Seneca or the Thema Mundi, but I doubt that the Thema Mundi (Horoscope of the World) had any relationship to seasons. I believe that only astrologers who have studied with Robert Schmidt or seen his writings are familiar with the Thema Mundi, so Fagan school astrologers may not know about the Thema Mundi. (I'm assuming for the moment that Graham is on the western Sidereal track?)
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Mark
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Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:
Quote:
This is news to me. Do you mean that there never were "Four Royal Stars of Persia?" Please give your source so I can read about this and add it to my files.


The stars used in ancient Persia were more guardians or watchers of the of the night sky rather than ‘royal stars’. The identification of what these stars ( or asterisms) were has been a subject of academic debate for decades.

There is absolutely no evidence they were all linked into the ecliptic. If anything current scholarship seems to be leaning towards the view that Sirius was one of these watchers. It was undeniably very important in ancient Persian religion (as it was in ancient Egypt). There is also a fair amount of support for Ursa Major as another one of the Persian watchers or guardians.

There seems to be a widespread confusion in the astrological community today that the 4 guardians/watchers of ancient Persia are synonymous with the 4 royal stars of Hellenistic astrology. This is a misconception I have seen repeated by some of the biggest names in astrology today. I will not embarrass them all by setting out a list of names here!

One of the principle sources that seems to have disseminated this error was the book Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning, by Richard Hinckley Allen, (1899, 1963). The book relied on many older sources that have subsequently been academically discredited. In this context the theories of the 18th century French astronomer Jean Bailly appears to have been the first to suggest that Aldebaran, Antares, Formalhaut, and Regulus were the four 'royal stars' of ancient Persia.

Hinckley Allen seems to have been an important influence on Vivian Robson in the writing of his famous book ‘The Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology’. Robson’s book was published in 1923 before any modern scholarship had examined the issue in depth.

The first article to challenge such ideas appeared about 70 years ago and was written by George A. Davis, Jr., who published an article entitled The So Called Royal Stars of Persia, Popular Astronomy, vol. LIII, No 4, April 1945. Important recent research into this topic has come from the Italian academic Antonio Panaino. For example, "Tistrya, Part 1: The Avestan hymn to Sirius." (1990) and "Tistrya, Part 2: The Avestan hymn to Sirius." (1995).

Academics have come up with a wide variety of potential identifications of of the Persian leader stars (so-called four royal stars) which include: Tishtya which has been variously identified as Aldebaran, Sirius, Arcturus, and the Summer Solstice. Vanant (or Wanand) has been variously identified as Regulus, Vega, Altair (earlier Corvus), Sirius, and Procyon. Satavaesa (or Sadwēs) has been variously identified as Antares, Aldebaran, the stars of Musca Australis (the actual constellation being invented circa 1595), and Crux. The Haptoiringas (or Haftoreng) have been variously identified as Formalhaut, and Ursa Major. (The Haptoiringas are described in the Sirozas as a group of seven stars.)

In contrast the late Roman astrologer Firmicus Maternus certainly does discuss the so called four ‘royal stars’: Aldebaran, Antares, Regulus and Folmalhaut linked to the fixed signs and all on the ecliptic.

I am not clear how old the idea of these 4 'royal stars' was in Hellenistic astrology. The sources I have seen are quite late ie Firmicus ( 4th century CE) or Hephaistio ( 5th century CE).

However, in the case of Regulus it was regarded as the ‘King star’ of Babylonian astrology. So ironically, this adds some weight to Graham's view about focusing exclusively on Regulus as a kind of alpha star of the whole zodiac.

That is as far as I want to be drawn on this topic here. I promised another member ages ago I would open a thread on the traditional forum on this topic and I think I would prefer to go into more detail/references there.

Mark wrote:
Quote:
However, surely, our oldest astrological sources all point to the cardinal signs as the effective beginnings of the signs?

This seems to be a basic idea of Babylonian astrology. The Roman writer Seneca, had access to the ancient Babylonian astrologer Berossus'original papyrus manuscript of his History of Babylon known as the Babyloniaca. The work now only exists in fragments but Seneca stated that Berossus assigned a great cosmic cycle timed between great conjunctions of all the planets in Capricorn and Cancer. When all the planets line up in Cancer, Berossus apparently stated we can expect a great fire or conflagration. When all the planets conjoin in Capricorn, we should expect a great flood or deluge.


Therese Hamilton wrote:
Quote:
So much for Cancer relating to water and Capricorn to earth.


Indeed. As you know the idea of linking in elements to signs is a relatively late development in Hellenistic astrology. Vettius Valens ( 2nd century CE) appears to be the first astrologer to make this link explicitly. His near contemporary Ptolemy makes no mention of the elements related to signs. Instead he links the triplicities to the older Babylonian tradition of the four directions/winds.

If we are trying to think like an ancient Babylonian astrologer (or early hellenistic) we must dispense with any ideas of signs linked to the four elements.

Therese Hamilton wrote:
Quote:
But we know that Capricorn is located in the part of the sky related to the sea, and Capricorn was originally the sea goat with a fish tail.


Yes but the deeper question is surely why the sidereal signs of Capricorn and Aquarius had this association of being areas of the sky associated with the sea and water? In other words, why did this area of the sky (rather than any other) attract such myths from the Mesopotamians?

Some scholars who have studied the primary sources have suggested there was a seasonal connection here since the period before and after the winter solstice was linked with flooding in ancient Mesopotamia. Equally, at the time the Babylonian zodiac was formulated the summer solstice was in sidereal Cancer. Obviously, this was the hottest and driest time of the year. So it would make sense if fire/great heat was associated with the period around the summer solstice. This would make particular sense if the Mesopotamians assumed the equinoxes and solstices were fixed points in the constellations.

This kind of seasonal connection seemed fairly obvious to a classical source like Seneca (1st century CE). It seems quite probable that the ancient Mesopotamian understanding of the sidereal constellations incorporated seasonal considerations as an integral part of their thinking about the signs.

Therese Hamilton wrote:
Quote:
I doubt that the Thema Mundi (Horoscope of the World) had any relationship to seasons.


Here is a Wikipedia link on the Thema Mundi:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thema_Mundi

That is not a topic I have a firm view on. Robert Schmidt has speculated that the Thema Mundi may not be based on a seasonal basis in old forum post I have read. However, he has never formally published his views on this issue in a way that would be open to proper academic scrutiny and debate.

Therese Hamilton wrote:
Quote:
I believe that only astrologers who have studied with Robert Schmidt or seen his writings are familiar with the Thema Mundi


I think several other people in the astrological community have equal competence to comment on such things. However, relatively, few astrologers have seriously acquainted themselves with these ancient sources. I confess I am not one of those people at present.

Mark
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
The stars used in ancient Persia were more guardians or watchers of the of the night sky rather than "royal stars." The identification of what these stars ( or asterisms) were has been a subject of academic debate for decades.

Quite an interesting and comprehensive history you've presented here, Mark. Perhaps to finish off this topic for those who are interested, it's best to simply take excerpts from the Bundahishn, "Primal Creation" collections of Zoroastrian cosmogony and cosmology. (Wiki reference here gives dates for Bundahishn manuscripts:1540 and 1734; However, Wiki should always be checked against other sources.)

BEGIN QUOTE:

From Chapter 2 of the Bundahishn:

2. First he produced the celestial sphere, and the constellation stars are assigned to it by him; especially these twelve whose names are Varak (the Lamb), Tora (the Bull), Do-patkar (the Two-figures or Gemini), Kalachang (the Crab), Sher (the Lion), Khushak (Virgo), Tarazhuk (the Balance), Gazdum (the Scorpion), Nimasp (the Centaur or Sagittarius), Vahik (Capricorn), Dul (the Water-pot), and Mahik (the Fish);

3. which, from their original creation, were divided into the twenty-eight subdivisions of the astronomers, of which the names are Padevar, Pesh-Parviz, Parviz, Paha, Avesar, Beshn, Rakhvad, Taraha, Avra, Nahn, Miyan, Avdem, Mashaha, Spur, Husru, Srob, Nur, Gel, Garafsha Varant, Gau, Goi, Muru, Bunda, Kahtsar, Vaht, Miyan, Kaht.

4. And all his original creations, residing in the world, are committed to them; so that when the destroyer arrives they overcome the adversary and their own persecution, and the creatures are saved from those adversities.

5. As a specimen of a warlike army, which is destined for battle, they have ordained every single constellation of those 6480 thousand small stars as assistance; and among those constellations four chieftains, appointed on the four sides, are leaders.

6. On the recommendation of those chieftains the many unnumbered stars are specially assigned to the various quarters and various places, as the united strength and appointed power of those constellations.

7. As it is said that Tishtar is the chieftain of the east, Sataves the chieftain of the west, Vanand the chieftain of the south, and Haptoring the chieftain of the north.

Then in Chapter 5 (1.) we find this thought provoking passage:

"Seven chieftains of the planets have come unto the seven chieftains of the constellations, as the planet Mercury (Tir) unto Tishtar, the planet Mars (Warharan) unto Haptoring, the planet Jupiter (Ohrmazd) unto Vanand, the planet Venus (Anahid) unto Sataves, the planet Saturn (Kevan) unto the great one of the middle of the sky...."

END QUOTES from Avesta -- Zoroastrian Archives (link)

And from here we have the various opinions and research of scholars mentioned in Mark's preceding post and in Richard Hinckley Allen's Star Names, linking various stars to the four Persian chieftains in chapter 2.
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margherita



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Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:


However, surely, our oldest astrological sources all point to the cardinal signs as the effective beginnings of the signs?

This seems to be a basic idea of Babylonian astrology. The Roman writer Seneca, had access to the ancient Babylonian astrologer Berossus’ original papyrus manuscript of his History of Babylon known as the Babyloniaca. The work now only exists in fragments but Seneca stated that Berossus assigned a great cosmic cycle timed between great conjunctions of all the planets in Capricorn and Cancer. When all the planets line up in Cancer, Berossus apparently stated we can expect a great fire or conflagration. When all the planets conjoin in Capricorn, we should expect a great flood or deluge. Hence the great flood had coincided with a previous great conjunction of planets in Capricorn. Seneca goes on the justify this view by stating “They are zodiacal signs of great power, seeing that they are the determining influences in the two great changes of the year.” (Seneca, qtd. in Campion, The Great Year, p. 67).

Mark



I don't know if someone already mentioned, but Cancer and Capricorn are the gates of men and the gates of Gods in the very famous Homer's cave of Nymphs.

margherita
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Margherita wrote:
Quote:
I don't know if someone already mentioned, but Cancer and Capricorn are the gates of men and the gates of Gods in the very famous Homer's cave of Nymphs.


Thanks Margherita. I was going to mention this earlier but I felt it might be a bit too much in my previous overlong post.

As you know its Porphyry's commentary on Homer's Cave of the Nymphs. This quote is taken from the famous work by Porphyry:

Quote:
Theologists therefore assert, that_these two gates are Cancer and Capricorn; but Plato calls them entrances. And of these, theologists say, that Cancer is the gate through which souls descend; but Capricorn that through which they ascend. Cancer is indeed northern, and adapted to descent; but Capricorn is southern, and adapted to ascent. The northern parts, likewise, pertain to souls descending into generation. And the gates of the cavern which are turned to the north are rightly said to be pervious to the descent of men; but the southern gates are not the avenues of the Gods, but of souls ascending to the Gods. On this account, the poet does not say that they are the avenues of the Gods, but of immortals; this appellation being also common to our souls, which are per se, or essentially, immortal. It is said that Parmenides mentions these two gates in his treatise "On the Nature of Things", as likewise that they are not unknown to the Romans and Egyptians. For the Romans celebrate their Saturnalia when the Sun is in Capricorn, and during this festivity, slaves wear the shoes of those that are free, and all things are distributed among them in common; the legislator obscurely signifying by this ceremony that through this gate of the heavens, those who are now born slaves will be liberated through the Saturnian festival, and the house attributed to Saturn, i.e., Capricorn, when they live again and return to the fountain of life. Since, however, the path from Capricorn is adapted to ascent, hence the Romans denominate that month in which the Sun, turning from Capricorn to the east, directs his course to the north, Januanus, or January, from janua, a gate. But with the Egyptians, the beginning of the year is not Aquarius, as with the Romans, but Cancer. For the star Sothis, which the Greeks call the Dog, is near to Cancer. And the rising of Sothis is the new moon with them, this being the principle of generation to the world. On this account, the gates of the Homeric cavern are not dedicated to the east and west, nor to the equinoctial signs, Aries and Libra, but to the north and south, and to those celestial signs which towards the south are most southerly, and, towards the north are most northerly; because this cave was sacred to souis and aquatic nymphs. But these places are adapted to souls descending into generation, and afterwards separating themselves from it. Hence, a place near to the equinoctial circle was assigned to Mithra as an appropriate seat. Porphyry's, On the Cave of the Nymphs in the Thirteenth Book of the Odyssey, Translated by Thomas Taylor, 1917


http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/porphyry_cave_of_nymphs_02_translation.htm

Porphyry sees Cancer as the gate of men or incarnation while Capricorn was seen as the gate of the Gods or ascension.

Porphyry connects the Cancer-Capricorn axis to the solstice points – the winter solstice where no part of heaven is nearer to the south and the summer solstice where no part of heaven is nearer to the north. He talks about how the Sun proceeds as far as these signs when it descends from the north to the south and then to the north again. Cancer, having reached its full height, has nowhere else to go but to descend. Capricorn, having reached its lowest point, has nowhere else to go but to ascend.

As I recall Macrobius in his Commentary on the "Dream of Scipio'' also comments on these celestial 'gates'.

This appears to provide another argument to support the importance of the cardinal signs and especially the Cancer-Capricorn polarity in ancient spiritual belief.

This notion of Cancer as the sign of souls descending to earth in human incarnation (the gate of men) provides a very plausible explanation why Cancer was the ASC sign in the world horoscope known as the Thema Mundi. The Moon was of course understood as the closest planet to the earth and affairs on earth were part of a sub-lunar realm.

However, I dont think we can assume the Roman notion of celestial gates was synonymous with the Babylonian perception of celestial gates. In an old forum post on Skyscript Gavin white , the author of Babylonian Star-Lore made the following intriguing comments in reply to me:

Gavin White wrote:

Quote:
Symbolism concerning the Gates of Men can be found among the following Babylonian constellations: The Crab (Cancer), which has magical associations with raising the dead and making offerings to ghosts. The Serpent (Hydra), which is sacred to Ningishzida, a prominent god of the underworld. The Great Twins (Gemini), who seem to be posted, weapons at the ready, guarding the entrance to the underworld.

Symbolism concerning the Gates of the Gods is found in the lore surrounding Pabilsag (Sagittarius), who represents the 'Forefather' or 'Chief Ancestor'. The Eagle & Dead Man (Aquila & Sagita) which together either represent the soul spirited away into the ancestral realms or more specifically the soul of a tyrant being removed from the ancestral realm altogether. And the Panther (located among the stars of Cepheus & Cygnus) which is sacred to Nergal, the Mesopotamian Lord of the Dead. These winter time constellations seem to be purposefully placed along the course of the Milky Way - which according to Macrobius was the collective residing place of the souls of the dead.

If anything the Babylonian Tradition would have referred to these gates as the Gates of the Great Twins (Gemini) and Pabilsag (Sagittarius) as their observational system was based on rising stars rather than solar position.


I find the latter point made by Gavin White very intriguing as it appears to shift the astral focus of celestial gates to/from the underworld from the solar cycle through the signs to the constellations associated with the milky way. Or does it? The more I contemplate this the more sense it makes to see these two things working together in the mind of an ancient Babylonian.

We know in ancient Mesopotamia the summer solstice took place in sidereal Cancer, whereas today it occurs in sidereal Gemini. Similarly the winter solstice took place in sidereal Capricorn, whereas today it occurs in sidereal Sagittarius.

Since the ancient Mesopotamians focused on rising stars surely a very significant time would be their heliacal rising? In ancient Babylon the stars of sidereal Gemini and Sagittarius must have heliacally rose at the time when the Sun was in sidereal Cancer and Capricorn respectively. In particular around the time of the solstices.

So I would speculate that the associations of these stars in sidereal Gemini and Sagittarius had for ancient Babylonians were rooted at least in part by their heliacal rising at the time of the summer and winter solstices respectively.

Mark
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margherita



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Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:


However, I dont think we can assume the Roman notion of celestial gates was synonymous with the Babylonian perception of celestial gates. In an old forum post on Skyscript Gavin white , the author of Babylonian Star-Lore made the following intriguing comments in reply to me:

Gavin White wrote:

Quote:
Symbolism concerning the Gates of Men can be found among the following Babylonian constellations: The Crab (Cancer), which has magical associations with raising the dead and making offerings to ghosts. The Serpent (Hydra), which is sacred to Ningishzida, a prominent god of the underworld. The Great Twins (Gemini), who seem to be posted, weapons at the ready, guarding the entrance to the underworld.


Summer solstice was linked with raising of dead even in modern world. In fact Summer solstice, which is St. John's (the Baptist) Eve (the other door -ianua - is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist) - is the witches and dead night and garlic was hung to doors in order to protect humans from the creatures of the Underworld.

The Capricorn door is the door from which Solar gods enter into the world, like Mithra and Jesus, it's the obvious mention.

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Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Margherirta,

Margherita wrote:
Quote:
Summer solstice was linked with raising of dead even in modern world. In fact Summer solstice, which is St. John's (the Baptist) Eve (the other door -ianua - is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist) - is the witches and dead night and garlic was hung to doors in order to protect humans from the creatures of the Underworld.


The association with death and rebirth around the summer solstice seems to be Babylonian in origin relating to the dying god Tammuz. Its really fascinating that such ideas carried down to medieval Europe.

This is from Wikipedia:

Quote:
In Babylonia, the month Tammuz was established in honor of the eponymous god Tammuz, who originated as a Sumerian shepherd-god, Dumuzid or Dumuzi, the consort of Inanna and, in his Akkadian form, the parallel consort of Ishtar. The Levantine Adonis ("lord"), who was drawn into the Greek pantheon, was considered by Joseph Campbell among others to be another counterpart of Tammuz,[1] son and consort. The Aramaic name "Tammuz" seems to have been derived from the Akkadian form Tammuzi, based on early Sumerian Damu-zid.[citation needed] The later standard Sumerian form, Dumu-zid, in turn became Dumuzi in Akkadian. Tamuzi also is Dumuzid or Dumuzi.

Beginning with the summer solstice came a time of mourning in the Ancient Near East, as in the Aegean: the Babylonians marked the decline in daylight hours and the onset of killing summer heat and drought with a six-day "funeral" for the god. Recent discoveries reconfirm him as an annual life-death-rebirth deity: tablets discovered in 1963 show that Dumuzi was in fact consigned to the Underworld himself, in order to secure Inanna's release, though the recovered final line reveals that he is to revive for six months of each year (see below).

In cult practice, the dead Tammuz was widely mourned in the Ancient Near East. Locations associated in antiquity with the site of his death include both Harran and Byblos, among others. A Sumerian tablet from Nippur (Ni 4486) reads:

She can make the lament for you, my Dumuzid, the lament for you, the lament, the lamentation, reach the desert — she can make it reach the house Arali; she can make it reach Bad-tibira; she can make it reach Dul-šuba; she can make it reach the shepherding country, the sheepfold of Dumuzid

"O Dumuzid of the fair-spoken mouth, of the ever kind eyes," she sobs tearfully, "O you of the fair-spoken mouth, of the ever kind eyes," she sobs tearfully. "Lad, husband, lord, sweet as the date, [...] O Dumuzid!" she sobs, she sobs tearfully.

These mourning ceremonies were observed even at the very door of the Temple in Jerusalem in a vision the Israelite prophet Ezekiel was given, which serves as a Biblical prophecy which expresses YHWH's message at His people's apostate worship of idols:

"Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then said he unto to me, 'Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these." —Ezekiel 8:14-

Ezekiel's testimony is the only direct mention of Tammuz in the Hebrew Bible.


Margherita wrote:
Quote:
The Capricorn door is the door from which Solar gods enter into the world, like Mithra and Jesus, it's the obvious mention.


Ok. However, I thought the ancient emphasisis was more on heroes ascending not incarnating through the Capricorn gate? That seems to be what Porphyry is saying.

These ideas of astral gates and incarnation and ascent of souls through the stars seems to have been extremely popular in ancient society.

In her book Ancient Astrology, Tamsyn Barton has a short section devoted to this topic which I will quote from as it seems very appropriate in the context of our discussion:

Quote:
NOTIONS OF INFLUENCE: THE DIVINE STARS AND THE SOUL

Ptolemy’s naturalistic explanations are often clearly rationalisations of theories which had their origin in myths about the stars. He attempts to remove all elements of the personification which had formed part of the common understanding of the heavens. He is rare among astrologers in his efforts to find rationalistic explanations, and to suppress features he finds too fanciful. It is a distinction obvious to us, but it is difficult, and often artificial, to separate religious understanding from ‘scientific’ in antiquity. This is particularly clear in theories about the soul, which veered between a spiritual and a physiological entity. The soul was, from at least Plato onwards, associated with the stars. In the Timaeus souls are made by the Demiurge (the craftsman-creator) in numbers equal to the stars.

Inside its star, the soul is taught that it is subject to the passions, but
that if it masters them, it can return to its native star. The stars, among other ‘young gods’, are assigned a subordinate role in creation: while the Demiurge made the rational part of the human soul, they formed human bodies and the lower, mortal parts of the soul, will and passion.

....Neoplatonists developed a more obviously mythical account of the soul’s relation to heaven, while Aristotle and the Stoics took a more physiological line. Aristotle asserted that there is material of the soul in the pneuma (breath, or spirit) within human sperm which is like the material of the stars. The Stoics too saw a connection between the material of which the soul was made, ether or pneuma, and the stars. It was Pythagoreans and Platonists who laid emphasis on the astral origin of the human soul. Epicureans, however, saw no connection between the soul, which in their view was simply dispersed after death, and the stars.

Doubtless, for the vast majority, the heavens always remained peopled by entities less abstract than Ptolemy’s elements and qualities. The Elder Pliny, in the first century, thought it was a belief increasingly common to learned and unlearned alike that each individual had his or her own star, which rose with him or her at birth, and fell with him or her at death, varying in brightness according to his or her estate in life.35 From as early as the first century BCE, some Roman writers were acquainted with the idea of the astral soul. Cicero’s famous Dream of Scipio has the great second-century general Scipio dream that he feels his soul leave his body for the stars. In this account the Milky Way is made the province of heroes after death.

His contemporary Varro mentions three doors to the starry heaven: one near Scorpio, one between Leo and Cancer, and the third between Aquarius and Pisces. Beginning with Porphyry (232–305 CE), who wrote an introduction to Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos, it was standard doctrine that the soul’s astral body came from planetary spheres and returned to them at death. Neoplatonists developed an account of the soul’s ascent after death, some suggesting that the stars purified the soul as it went up, others that the stars assisted its progress. Others said that the stars contributed something of their own to the human soul. Ancient Astrology, Tamsyn Barton, p109-110

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margherita



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Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:

His contemporary Varro mentions three doors to the starry heaven: one near Scorpio, one between Leo and Cancer, and the third between Aquarius and Pisces.


Very nice quote, Mark, never heard before.
Interesting the fact Taurus is missing. Do you have any idea about?

margherita
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Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Margherita wrote:
Quote:
Interesting the fact Taurus is missing. Do you have any idea about?


Afraid not. I dont understand why Pisces crops up in Varro's list either. I could speculate but I would rather not. Varro seems out of harmony with Porphyry, Macrobius and Proclus.

Macrobius, in the twelfth chapter of his Commentary on "Scipio's Dream," focuses like Porphyry on the Cancer-Capricorn gates. However, he also discusses Leo and Aquarius. The scheme presented by Macrobius indicates an interesting more mystical justification for the domicile rulerships and in particular why the luminaries are assigned to Cancer/Leo and Saturn to Capricorn/Aquarius.

Quote:
"Pythagoras thought that the empire of Pluto began downwards from the milky way, because souls falling from thence appear to have already receded from the Gods. Hence he asserts that the nutriment of milk is first offered to infants, because their first motion commences from the galaxy, when they begin to fall into terrene bodies. On this account, since those who are about to descend are yet in Cancer, and have not left the milky way, they rank in the order of the Gods. But when, by falling, they arrive at the Lion, in this constellation they enter on the exordium of their future condition. And because, in the Lion, the rudiments of birth and certain primary exercises of human nature, commence; but Aquarius is opposite to the and presently sets after the Lion rises; hence, when the sun is in Aquarius, funeral rites are performed to departed souls, because he is then carried in a sign which is contrary or adverse to human life. From the confine, therefore, in which the zodiac and galaxy touch each other, the soul, descending from a round figure, which is the only divine form, is produced into a cone by its denuxion. And as a line is generated from a point and proceeds into length from an indivisible, so the soul, from its own point, which is a monad, passes into the duad, which is the first extension. And this is the essence which Plato, in the Timaeus, calls impartible and at the same time partible, when he speaks of the nature of the mundane soul. For as the soul of the world, so likewise that of man, will be found to be in one respect without division, if the simplicity of a. divine nature is considered; and in another respect partible, if we regard the diffusion of the former through the world, and of the latter through the members of the body.''


So for Macrobius Cancer/Leo are signs of incarnation while Capricorn/Aquarius represent the other principle opposing life. So it seems logical to assign the luminaries to Cancer/Leo and Saturn to Capricorn/Aquarius.

These ideas are reflected in the Thema Mundi. In that world horoscope Cancer is the sign of the ascendant which is a symbolic representation of incarnation into the world. The Moon is also in the 1st house. The Moon is a general significator for the physical body. It is also the closest planetary body to earth. The Sun is in Leo. Capricorn is the 7th house the traditional house of death. Saturn falls in the 7th house in the Thema Mundi. Aquarius is the 8th house (in ancient astrology this shows the actual kind of death). Note that both Cancer and Leo have the relevant luminary in those signs in the Thema Mundi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thema_Mundi

I think it is fairly evident that the original designer(s) of the Thema Mundi followed the notion of star gates and had a belief regarding the the soul's incarnation and ascension through the signs.

Levente Laszlo made a very interesting post on this whole topic on Skyscript some years ago which offers some fascinating ideas for further research.

Levente Laszlo wrote:
Quote:
One of the source texts for this issue is Porphyry's On the cave indeed, but you can find some portions of its in Macrobius' commentary on Cicero's Dream of Scipio and Proclus' comments on Plato's Timaeus as well.

Small wonder, because this theory about solstitial gates of souls seems to come from their common source, to say, from a Neopythagorean and so-called Middle Platonist philosopher of the late 2nd century CE, Numenius of Apamea. Unfortunately, his works are lost, all we know is a selection of fragments from numerous later authors. It was published by Édouard Des Places, Numénius: Fragments (Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 1973).

The more intriguing fact is that this theory seems to be derived from an exclusive Roman cult, namely, from Mysteries of Mithras which is likely to be founded in the late 1st century CE by certain not-yet-known people that had had a strong connection to the former royal family of Commagene. That later had a tie with several well-known astrologers, Thrasyllus, Balbillus and perhaps Antiochus of Athens himself. (In this later case, his floruit should be redated to the late 1st-early 2nd century CE.) On this see Roger Beck's The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire: Mysteries of the Unconquered Sun (Oxford-New York, 2004). While the origin of the Mysteries of Mithras and the soul-gate theory remains
obscure, it is likely that older astrological and other kinds of issues were reused creating the Mysteries' arcane "star-talk" which was used as a vehicle for direct teaching of the soul's routes. The idea of gates itself, however, antedates the foundation of these Mysteries: for instance, there is some discussion in a work by the antiquarian Varro. Concerning this issue I can wholeheartedly recommend the excellent Ioan P. Culianu's book, Psychanodia: A Survey of the Evidence Concerning the Ascension of the Soul and Its Relevance (Leiden, Brill, 1983).


Mark
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Last edited by Mark on Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:27 pm; edited 2 times in total
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margherita



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Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark, this is Varro. I found this while searching the rest of the quote with your quote. He writes some years before Julian reform. So it looks like again CARDINAL symbolism.

"The first day of spring occurs [when the sun is] in Aquarius, that of summer when it is in Taurus, of autumn when it is in Leo, of winter when it is in Scorpio. As the twenty-third day of each one of these four signs is the first day of the four seasons"
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Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Margherita,

Although interesting I am not sure if the reference you have given is relevant here. Did you get this direct from Varro?

The quote from Varro is not direct from him but via another Roman source.
Tamsyn Barton cites Servius' quotation of Varro which comes from his commentary on Virgil's Georgics 1.32–5.

Varro reports having read that Empedotimus of Syracuse, upon finding his merely mortal powers of sight removed (sc. and enhanced) by some divine power, actually saw (sc. in the noonday sky), among other sights, three gates and three routes

Quote:
''one set near and leading toward the constellation of Scorpio, where Hercules' apotheosis had reportedly occurred; a second set along the boundary between Leo and Cancer, and a third between between Aquarius and Pisces''


The source for Varro's ideas seems to be Heraclides Ponticus (c.390 BCE – c. 310 BCE]), also known as Herakleides and Heraklides of Pontus, who was a Greek philosopher and astronomer who lived and died at Heraclea Pontica, now Karadeniz Ereğli, Turkey. He is best remembered for proposing that the earth rotates on its axis, from west to east, once every 24 hours. He is also frequently hailed as the originator of the heliocentric theory, although this is doubted. Heraclides also seems to have had an interest in cosmic mysticism and believed in the Pythagorean and Platonic idea of reincarnation of souls.

Quote:
Pythagoras remained an object of intense interest for circles around Plato and Aristotle. Besides Speusippus and Xenocrates, whose work tended assimilate Pythagoras into Platonic tradition, a member of the Academy who made even more imaginative use of Pythagorean ideas was Heraclides Ponticus. Hercalides was a prolific and successful author of dialogues, and in these he explored new versions of mystical psychology and quasi-scientific cosmology of the Pythagorean tradition. On the mystic side, he represented Pythagoras as recounting one by one his previous incarnations, on the basis of a gift from Hermes, his first father: Pythagoras had originally been Aithalides, son of Hermes, then he became successively the Trojan hero Euphorbus killed by Menelaus, an archaic seer named Hermontimus whose soul went on travels away from his body, a And finally, Pyrrhus a fisherman from Delos.

And in another work Heraclides described the vision of a certain Empedotimus, a name that seems to have been invented as a combination of the names Empedocles and Hermotimus. In this work Heraclides makes Empedotimus the recipient of a divine revelation concerning the nature of the heavens and the destiny of the soul (Heraclides therefore provides the model for the Dream of Scipio in Cicero's De republica. In the vision of Empedotimus, the world below the sun is the realm of Hades (hence we are dead in this life, a genuinely Pythagorean thought), while the Milky Way is the path that disembodied souls can follow on their journey to heaven. Their natural home is amongst the stars, since the souls themselves are composed of astral light. Heraclides has clearly been inspired by Plato's myths to make a new literary use of Pythagorean doctrines on the wanderings of souls. Pythagoras and The Pythagoreans, by Charles H. Kahn, p66-67

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Graham F



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Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thérèse wrote:
Quote:
Graham, I'm confused. If you relinquish all the usual sign symbolism and structure, how do you interpret signs of the sidereal zodiac and keep them distinct and separate one from another?

I'd just use the 12 mundane houses (or places), apportioned in each chart to the 12 celestial ones: the positive and negative places of the 5 planets plus the positive and negative lights (or masculine and feminine, or whatever similar binary concept). With the interplay of rulerships and dignities (others might like to see if the outer planets and/or the nodes can be given some of the rulerships, I'd prefer not to) and the natural signifiers of each house (there are of course a myriad of views as to what the latter are), there's plenty to be going on with. It seems to me that this is very much what Morin was doing back in the 17th century, and certainly what many contemporary Indian astrologers do, in practice. Mark quotes Porphyry: "the house attributed to Saturn, i.e., Capricorn", which implies this sort of thinking. It would tend, for example, to group people into planetary types rather than sign-types. This is not new.

Mark: thanks for the rich serving of key references. Of course it's clear that Capricorn and Cancer (and indeed Aries and Libra) were seen as key signs at the beginning of our era, and as "powerful" ones, and this is hardly surprising as the solstices and equinoxes occurred in them (sidereally), and had been doing for about 2000 years, andas Thérèse has said, when the modern zodiac was taking shape.

But I don't really see why the dynamic notion of "cardinal" shouldn't apply to the place before the pivot and leading up to it, rather than the one after it, rather as we refer to the "leading note" in music as the last one before we "settle" onto a new octave. The watershed is surely not a sign, but the junction between two. I understand also that for some ancient astrologers, what we call 0° Leo was considered as 30° Cancer, so that junction would have been more "in" the previous, not the following sign.

Indeed, this "leading up to" role of Cancer and Capricorn is implicit in much that you quote (my caps):
Quote:

Berossus, according to Seneca, wrote that "When all the planets line up in Cancer, we can EXPECT a great fire or conflagration. When all the planets conjoin in Capricorn, we should EXPECT a great flood or deluge. Hence the great flood had coincided with a PREVIOUS great conjunction of planets in Capricorn". […] Cancer, having reached its full height, has nowhere else to go but to descend. Capricorn, having reached its lowest point, has nowhere else to go but to ascend."

You also point out the undeniable seasonal associations, which were valid (sidereally) but must be becoming increasing out of phase (sidereally) with the passing centuries:
Quote:
at the time the Babylonian zodiac was formulated the summer solstice was in sidereal Cancer. Obviously, this was the hottest and driest time of the year. So it would make sense if fire/great heat was associated with the period around the summer solstice. This would make particular sense if the Mesopotamians assumed the equinoxes and solstices were fixed points in the constellations. […] It seems quite probable that the ancient Mesopotamian understanding of the sidereal constellations incorporated seasonal considerations as an integral part of their thinking about the signs.


I agree. And what I found REALLY interesting was this from Porphyry:
Quote:
"the path from [the end of ???] Capricorn is adapted to ascent, hence the Romans denominate that month in which the Sun, turning FROM Capricorn to the east, directs his course to the north, Januanus, or January, from janua, a gate. But with the Egyptians, the beginning of the year is not AQUARIUS, AS WITH THE ROMANS, but Cancer."

And Macrobius:
Quote:
"those who are ABOUT to descend are yet in Cancer, and have not left the milky way, they rank in the order of the Gods. But when, BY FALLING, they arrive at the Lion, in this constellation they ENTER on the exordium of their future condition.


Structurally (and thus sidereally, as there should strictly be no seasonal criteria for the "start" of the sidereal zodiac), Aquarius or Leo are perfect choices for a sidereal start, or a sidereal pivot/axis, the beginning of the upward and downward mirrored half-cycles which end with 30° Cancer and 30 Capricorn. There definitely seems to be the intermingling here of seasonal and sidereal considerations you have mentioned, but for me those Romans were on the right track with Aquarius.

Macrobius' reference to the place "in which the zodiac and galaxy touch each other" is also very interesting for me, as I'm convinced that the best "anchor" for the sidereal (but not its structural start) is indeed the galactic nodal axis (intersection galactic equator/ecliptic), which we now know, according to astronomers (see Meuss/Smelyakov), at 270° (0 Cap tropical) in 1998. By all the main Western and Indian ayanamasas, this point falls between about 5 and 7°30 Sagittarius sidereally. I'd put it, as I said, at 6°40 Sg, in the centre of the nakshatra Mula, "the root", and derive an ayanamsa from that (i.e. 23°20' in May 1998, or Krishnamurti minus 24') (can't use current astro software without an aynamasa, whihc is a pity, as it leads us to think it's the siderealists who are shifting over time). I have a number of other reasons for this choice (apart from finding that it seems to work), but this is not the place to go into them.

The references in Macrobius to circles and cones as defining the heavens are quite close to Addey's insistance (Harmonics in Astrology) that the structure of the zodiac (tropical or sidereal) must be based on harmonics, and thus must be based on great circles and their intersection with the ecliptic. As a tropicalist, he finds the sidereal harmonics he has tested less effective than tropical, but recognises some validity to the latter if based on a great circle (he sees the galactic equator as the primary sidereal one), and not on any fixed stars. I agree: as the good book says, the stars are signs, not causes, pointers not definers.

Thanks again for the fascinating references.

Graham
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margherita



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Posted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Hi Margherita,
Although interesting I am not sure if the reference you have given is relevant here. Did you get this direct from Varro?


Surfing in the Internet I hastily decided your quote was from Varro, De Rustica. My quote comes from there. Sad

Quote:

Varro reports having read that Empedotimus of Syracuse, upon finding his merely mortal powers of sight removed (sc. and enhanced) by some divine power, actually saw (sc. in the noonday sky), among other sights, three gates and three routes

Quote:
''one set near and leading toward the constellation of Scorpio, where Hercules' apotheosis had reportedly occurred; a second set along the boundary between Leo and Cancer, and a third between between Aquarius and Pisces''


do we know Greek quotes about these 3 gates or just what Varro says? I'm a little lost now...
In every case on August 24, October 5, November 8 Romans worshipped the Gods of the Underworld in a place called mundus. And on February they celebrated Parentalia, in honour of their ancestors. The festival ended on February 21, with Feralia, a celebration to Manes, the Roman spirits of dead.

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